Restore your computer to factory settings by using the operating system installation disc or the recovery partition. Windows and Mac desktops usually come with installation discs that provide a way to reset the computer to its original state. Modern laptops often have a recovery partition with a built-in program for restoring the computer without the need for an installation disc.
- Back up your data
Use an external drive or a cloud service to back up all your important data. You can also burn the data onto discs for safekeeping. If you have a Mac, disable your online service accounts, such as iTunes. Many of these accounts are machine-specific and have a limited number of authorizations available. When you restore a Mac, these machine-specific authorizations are no longer valid.
- Restore the computer
If you have an installation disc, insert it into the disc tray, and then reboot the computer. During the reboot, press any key to boot from the disc. Follow the on-screen instructions to reset your computer to its original state. If you don't have the disc, and your Windows-based computer has a recovery partition, locate the recovery program in the All Programs list within the Start menu. Follow the instructions for restoring your computer. On a Mac, if you don't have the disc, make sure you have a good Internet connection, and then reboot while pressing the Option, Command and R keys simultaneously to connect with and run the Internet Recovery service. Follow the program instructions to complete the reset process.
- Import your data
Once your computer reboots for the final time, reinstall your most-used programs. After your programs are installed, download your data from the cloud server or insert your external drive to import your files.